He joined the Cub Scouts when he was eight years old and worked his way up through the ranks, earning merit badges and, according to his mom, maturing and learning to stretch and grow beyond his comfort zone.
Todd Medema said he had a big goal in mind from early on in his Scouting career. Now, the Oakdale High School senior has reached that goal by recently becoming an Eagle Scout — the highest rank obtainable by a Boy Scout. To add to this special accomplishment, he also recently received the news that he’s been accepted into the Business program at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with only a total of 80 students accepted into the program.
Medema is a member of Oakdale’s Boy Scout Troop 43. Aside from having met certain requirements in relation to service, leadership, and merit badges, obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout also involves performing an extensive, pre-approved service project that is of benefit to the community where the applicant must also organize and manage other scouts.
“During the project, probably the hardest part was managing everyone… probably 20 or so people,” Medema said.
His Eagle project involved, in part, fixing approximately 30 bicycles that were in disrepair and were non-operational at Oakdale’s Children’s Guardian House. Those bicycles represented a whole lot of fun that couldn’t be had by the children that the Guardian House serves. That was until Medema and his crew of Scout volunteers spent an entire day getting the bikes in good working order. They patched and filled flat tires, fixed broken chains, and also organized storage sheds and replaced windows and screens in outdoor buildings at the Guardian House property.
There was a fair amount of prep work prior to that day, and after that day more work was required to finish the project, Medema said. There was extensive paperwork to complete, documenting the project with logged hours, before and after photos, compiling donation records, thank you letters, and more.
“Knowing that I’ve helped the lives of so many people (was rewarding)… With the experience, I’ll also be able to help younger scouts obtain Eagle Scout,” Medema said.
At his Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony, Medema recognized several mentors who he feels have played a large role in his success. He gave special mentor pins to OHS teacher Pete Simoncini, martial arts Professor Tom Theofanopolus, Oakdale GATE teacher Brenda Combs, and Oakdale Rotarian Dave Smith.
“He possesses an outstanding work ethic,” Simoncini said, “preeminent academic prowess including outstanding writing and speaking skills, a tremendous thirst for knowledge, an incredible desire for self-improvement, impeccable moral character, and a wonderful personality — a combination of traits that has resulted in a truly exceptional student who has absolutely unlimited potential for future great success.”
Simoncini added that Medema is a high-achieving student and noted that he ranked seventh in his class at Oakdale High School.
In regards to his acceptance into the Business program at Carnegie Mellon University, Medema said he has plans to declare a double major in Business and also Computer Science once he’s there. He received college credits when he attended the university’s six-week “Early Action” program over this past summer. The college credits enabled him to apply early to the university and several Oakdale service organizations, including the Lions Club, Oakdale Rotary, Oakdale Sunrise Rotary, and Kiwanis Club donated money that made it possible for Medema to attend the university’s summer program.
“I’d really like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated to my Carnegie Fund,” Medema said. “The Oakdale community really came together and made it possible for me to attend this program. I had a great experience and for that I am so grateful. And it helped me get accepted into Carnegie Mellon, which I hope to be able to attend if I can earn enough in scholarships.”
Medema is a very active student and member of the community, and while his activities are too numerous to list, a few will be mentioned here. He’s a member of the OHS Academic Decathlon competing team and Model United Nations team, plays clarinet in the marching and concert bands, and trombone in the jazz band, and is President of the school’s Interact Club. He was also a delegate to the 2009 World Scholar’s Cup International Academic Competition in Singapore. He has a green belt in Kajukenbo karate, is the Boy Scout Troop 43 Senior Patrol Leader, was the 2007 Scout of the Year, and formed his own company at the age of 14 – a computer technology services business.
“(Todd) is a very special young man,” Simoncini said. “Just comparing his extracurricular activities with his academic record is very illustrative of an outstanding future leader of America. It has been a true pleasure to be a coach and teacher for him over the span of the past four years.”